• Overview

    Since 2007, the Ohio Workforce Coalition brings together leaders from education and training institutions, economic and workforce development organizations, business and industry, labor, and human service providers. The Coalition promotes public policies that build the skills of adult workers, meet employer skill needs, and strengthen the workforce system to ensure opportunity and prosperity for Ohio families.
  • April 2014
    M T W T F S S
    « Mar    


Towards Employment’s WorkAdvance program, a national pilot in Cleveland and Youngstown, Ohio, designed to test promising workforce programs that employ sector-focused and skills building strategies, won the Excellence in Workforce Development Innovation Award from the Ohio Economic Development Association (OEDA).

This OEDA award recognizes unique approaches to any aspect of workforce development and recognizes a person or organization that has developed innovative practices and programs. It was awarded on Thursday, October 25, at an awards luncheon, in conjunction with OEDA’s annual summit held in Columbus, Ohio.

With support from the federal Social Innovation Fund (SIF), WorkAdvance is a model being replicated at four sites across the country to train, place and help boost earnings of low-wage and unemployed adults in the growing fields of healthcare and manufacturing with room for career advancement. Towards Employment is the lead agency to implement WorkAdvance in Northeast Ohio and is working with Compass Family & Community Services to deliver the program in Youngstown, with significant regional investments from the Fund For Our Economic Future. Towards Employment has built a network of partners to provide dual economic benefits—helping individuals compete for, retain and advance in middle skill jobs, while at the same time providing employers with screened and qualified workers. WorkAdvance collaborates with employer partners to inform curriculum and suggest preferred training sources and provides services which include: contextualized job-readiness and literacy training, career coaching, technical skill training and credentials, and ongoing case management support.

Since the program’s inception in 2010, WorkAdvance has enrolled nearly 145 Northeast Ohioans in technical skills training such as machining, welding, medical office foundations, and State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA) PLUS. Over 90 participants are working with an average starting wage of nearly $10 an hour. “WorkAdvance offers a continuum of services that are uniquely packaged and responsive to the skills training needs of local employers,” said Rebecca Kusner, director, WorkAdvance, “By customizing our services we are able to best respond to both participant and employer demand.”
Training partners include: Choffin Career & Technical Center, Cleveland Industrial Training Center, Cuyahoga Valley Career Center, Lincoln Electric School of Welding, Mahoning County Career and Technical Center, Trumbull Career and Technical Center, and three community
colleges—Cuyahoga Community College, Lakeland Community College and Lorain Community College.

WorkAdvance is one of five promising anti-poverty programs being replicated in New York City and seven partner cities, as part of the SIF grant awarded to The Mayor’s Center for Economic Opportunity and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC. Announced by the White House in 2010, the SIF is a public-private partnership administered by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service that is designed to scale-up effective programs.

WorkAdvance builds on evidence from successful workforce programs piloted in New York and other cities. This rigorously evaluated program will contribute to a developing body of evidence for systems change so that lessons learned can benefit more people and industries. The bottom line is that WorkAdvance is testing a formula for building talent pipelines for employers—demonstrating that low-income job seekers can be a good source of labor with the proper investments and training, as well as looking at how to change the way we leverage existing services and funding to better support job seekers and employers.

Partners helping to make this model a success include: Employment Connection, Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET), Mahoning Columbiana Training Association, NEO HealthForce, Northeast Ohio Health Science & Innovation Coalition (NOHSIC), The Business Resource Network, The Center for Health Affairs, The Centers For Families and Children, The Literacy Cooperative of Greater Cleveland, and WIRE-Net. The program is accepting enrollees: contact 216-696-7311,
ccinfo@waneo.org, http://www.waneo.org. Employers interested to partner with Work Advance: contact Rebecca Kusner, 216-696-5750 ext. 230.

About Towards Employment
Since 1976, Towards Employment, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering individuals to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through employment, has served more than 120,000 low-income and disadvantaged adults in Greater Cleveland—to help them prepare for jobs, get jobs, keep jobs and ascend the career ladder. Through holistic programming and strong employer partnerships Towards Employment builds individual skills and confidence, removes barriers to employment and helps individuals meet employers’ workforce needs. http://www.towardsemployment.org,

Two OWC Members Join NSC’s Leadership Council

Ross Meyer – Partners for a Competitive Workforce, and Kerrie Carte -WSOS Community Action Commission, Inc. will represent Ohio on the National Skills Coalition’s Leadership Council for the remainder of 2012 and 2013.

The National Skills Coalition advocates on public policies according to a set of jointly-held priorities developed across the Coalition’s multi-stakeholder membership of community-based organizations, community colleges, labor unions and affiliates, employers and business associations, and representatives of state / local workforce and higher education systems.

In 2009, to ensure the Coalition’s positions and strategies remained consistent with the perspectives across its diverse network, NSC’s Board of Directors created a rotating Leadership Council of the organization’s most active members to serve as the programmatic advisory body to NSC’s staff and board. The Council continues to vet new policy positions taken by the Coalition, and helps to lead the organizing, communications and advocacy strategies developed to advance that agenda. The Council also helps the staff and board think about how to grow the presence and effectiveness of the National Skills Coalition at both the state and federal levels.

The Leadership Council is a rotating body of approximately 60 leaders, representing workforce and education stakeholder groups from states throughout the country, who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to NSC’s skills agenda. The Council serves as:
● A sounding board for policy positions and organizing strategies taken on by NSC at both the federal and state levels;
● An advisory body for NSC’s Board of Directors, which has been charged with ensuring that NSC’s day‐to‐day work is consistent with its
founding mission; and
● A leadership development opportunity for standout NSC members who have not had a chance to weigh in on the Coalition’s work and direction as an organization.

Congratulations to Ross and Kerrie!
For more information on the National Skills Coalition and to become a supporting member, please visit http://www.nationalskillscoalition.org

OWC welcomes Kelly Kupcak to the Leadership Committee

OWC welcomes Kelly Kupcak to the Leadership Committee

It is with great pleasure to introduce Ms. Kelly Kupcak as the newest Ohio Workforce Coalition, Leadership Committee member.
Kelly Kupcak currently serves as the Workforce Program Manager for the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development where her work is focused on ensuring high-road workforce practices in the energy efficiency sector. In addition to her work in the nonprofit sector Ms. Kupcak is the President and Owner of KMK Consulting and a principal at APB & Associates, Inc. where she serves in the capacity of the Director of Workforce Diversity. Ms. Kupcak has extensive experience in project development and management, with a focus on diversity and inclusion efforts in the construction sector in Ohio. While primarily working with nonprofit and government partners, Ms. Kupcak also has experience with the private sector in project development, management and research as well. Clients include the U.S. Department of Labor, Labor-Management Councils, City Governments, and a wide-range of nonprofit organizations and registered trade apprenticeship programs. With over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Ms. Kupcak worked in the public policy arena impacting both legislative efforts and agency regulations which effected issues ranging from compliance, workforce utilization, apprenticeship regulations, anti-discrimination, nontraditional training, workforce development and pay equity in nontraditional workforce.

Ms. Kupcak provided project management for the diversity program of a multi-billon dollar, multi-year school construction project for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District where she was able to promote systems-change initiatives and create a toolkit for contractors to support workforce diversity. Having provided consulting for numerous entities on issues of workforce diversity and economic inclusion, Ms. Kupcak has been instrumental in impacting successful project outcomes. In 2007, Ms. Kupcak was
recognized by the Washington, D.C.-based national progressive think-tank, The Mobility Project for her work
in engaging a multi-stakeholder initiative to address disparities in construction workforces and subcontracting on public works projects in her community through Community Benefits Agreements.

Ms. Kupcak is dedicated to improving her community at the local level as well as through service in state and national volunteer efforts as well. Ms. Kupcak serves on several boards and advisory committees including the National Skills Coalition Advisory Council (2010 – 2011), Emerald Cities (Cleveland) Executive Committee (2010 – 2012), the Mayor’s Retrofit Work Group (Cleveland), Constructing Futures Roundtable, and the Ohio Apollo Alliance Steering Committee. Ms. Kupcak is a 2007 graduate of the inaugural class of the Mandel Neighborhood Leadership Development Program (NLDP) at Case Western Reserve University and 2008 National Women’s Law Center Progressive Leadership & Advocacy Fellowship. Ms. Kupcak was a 2011 Ohio Political Leaders Fellow at the Center for Progressive Leadership.

The Fiscal Cliff: What does it mean for Ohio?

The Fiscal Cliff: What does it mean for Ohio?

Advocates for Ohio”s Future is hosting a webinar about the federal fiscal situation and what is at stake nationally and in Ohio. The webinar is on Thursday, October 18th from 3 – 4 p.m.
Presenters include: Ellen Nisenbaum – Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Debbie Weinstein – Coalition on Human Needs, and Wendy Patton – Policy Matters Ohio.
Register for the training here: http://www.anymeeting.com/AccountManager/RegEv.aspx?PIID=E157DB868247

State Works to Match Training, Future Jobs

By Pamela Engel

The Columbus Dispatch
Thursday September 27, 2012 5:56 AM

State officials are assembling a work-force forecast for southwestern Ohio as part of a soon-to-be-statewide program that will help determine where employee shortages are and what skills workers need to land the positions.

Gov. John Kasich wants to link education and training programs to businesses in the state, and this program is a step in that direction. Those involved in the project are distributing a survey to about 25 companies near Cincinnati asking what jobs might be available several years from now and what skills those workers probably will need. Continue reading

Incumbent Worker Training Voucher Program Info

Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program information from Gongwer 9/21/12

One of Gov. John Kasich’s signature economic development initiatives is finally shaping up and the administration hopes to soon make up to $500,000 available to offset employers’ costs to retrain their workers.

The administration has been circulating a draft outline of the Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program to several industry groups that fleshes out the new initiative that Gov. Kasich first pitched during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

The General Assembly appropriated $50 million of the state’s $200 million in casino licensing fee revenue for the program in the biennial budget (HB 153). However, the $20 million for fiscal year 2012 has gone unspent, leaving $30 million for FY 2013. Continue reading

Governor Kasich Announces Governor’s Executive Workforce Board


COLUMBUS – Gov. John R. Kasich today announced the members of the Governor’s Executive Workforce Board, taking another significant step to reform Ohio’s broken workforce development system. A policy priority since running for office, Gov. Kasich firmly believes that Ohio’s economic future is dependent upon a strong workforce and continues to champion reforms that will help Ohioans get the training they need to get back to work.   Continue reading


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